why are cheap anvils no good



The value of it to the railroad, I don't know, other than it's quite a bit higher than scrap steel prices. It's scrap rail that's picked up and taken right back to the rail/steel producer for re-melting to make new rail. The steel is a lot like the high quality steel Enderes uses to make their tools with. It ain't cheap junk, just the opposite really.
Like Bear's example of the 6 foot piece, the railroad and the rail roaders had no use for a piece that short unless it was rather small rail that could be used in a spur. 16'6" was/is the shortest piece allowed on the mainline to keep the track's class up which determines the speed limit.
I made a point of picking up the small, primo, saw cut pieces and gave them away as fast as I could. I saw it as good PR. :)

Just because it was a smaller outfit you suppose? :)

Cool. :)
Alvin in AZ
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No argument there. Great tool steel.

Nothing wrong with putting material where it will do some good. I expect it's a drop in the ocean where the RR is concerned. I just plain comes down to if the RR wants to make an issue out of it. I have a 5 foot piece in my driveway that I used as a grind (read slide) rail in my roller blading (read skates) days. I suppose if somebody wanted to get picky about it it's an invitation to trouble. Like I said though - I just did'nt think of it that way.

I chalk it up to just plain tight assedness. (ITS MINE!). I will guarantee that they will have to haul it away as junk sooner or later. It's still there by the way. I look at it every day on my way to work. the overpass is almost complete.

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I inherited a 30' section of rail. Ok, so the rail is below the shop and sure as Christmas wasn't mentioned in the will but there it is. What kind of markings should I look for? It has been there for at least twenty three years (been married to the past owners daughter that long).
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Subject: Re: rails are stolen?
Pretty much, yes... 99+% of it out there, that's taller than 4", is my guess. :/

30 foot piece of stolen rail? Cool. :) Too bad it wasn't 30 shares of 1930's General Electric stock instead, huh? ;)
Copy down all marking and post them? :)
The slash-markings after the year is for the month. Some makers used a half-mark for the second half of the month.
The size will have something like "80 RE" or maybe "1360 RE" meaning 136.0 pounds per yard and an "American Railway Engineers Association(?)" (AREA) design.
We had some odd rail sizes like the "113 pound head-free rail" that was rumored to be a specially requested SP design, it was the most break-prone rail, ever! ;)
One time a guy had his spot light on yet another broken rail watching a train roll over it "at walking speed" and the 113# rail on the other side -that was within his spot light beam- broke while he watched it. :)
The other markings are heat numbers from the steel mill and sometimes the time and date but they are different, they are stamped-in with other more specific information for future failure tracking etc. The stamped in markings may only be on 50's and newer rail tho?
Alvin in AZ
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<< The size will have something like "80 RE" or maybe "1360 RE" meaning 136.0 pounds per yard and an "American Railway Engineers Association(?)" (AREA) design. >><BR><BR>
There is some rail still being used on the line that runs through Towaco NJ where I live that on the side says " 13128 R E 9 H CARNEGIE USA 1944 " another says "13225 R E C C U S S CARNEGIE U S A 1954 "
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NJ
"
All I could see on the rail we have is CARNEGIE USA 1936. I"ll check the other side but the poison ivy is in full force right now and I wasn't dressed for battle when I checked.
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Michael wrote:

The brands I'm used to only have writing on one side. The weight is all that's missing that you/we could use anyway. The weight is also like it's style and size (like engine displacements that way) can be a few feet from the rest.
That age of rail was prob'ly 33 foot long when new. Still is? ;)
Alvin in AZ
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Rail hasn't been moved in over twenty years and is buried in poison ivy. Getting more off it is going to require suiting up for battle. From a casual look I'm thinking it is much shorter than I originally thought. The thirty foot length statement came from my FIL who has since go to his reward. Might have originally been thirty or thirty three but now is around twenty. I'll pull a tape on it today and try to get more info off it.
Cleaning off the back of the pond dam today so I'll be suited up and ready for the ivy.
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Controlled burning, and a good monitoring spot upwind can be your friends if they're an available option in your area this time of year.
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Joe Bramblett, KD5NRH wrote:

>>>>>>>> change the 'DOT' to '.' to email me <<<<<<<<<<<<
"Clutter"? This is an object-rich environment.
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Well that makes sense... lets pollute the area with toxic chemicals so we don't risk giving Poison Ivy to the small furry ceatures who LIVE IN THE STUFF. Just for the record, Humans develope an immunity to the stuff with repeated exposure and most animal will never have a problem with it since the live in and around it... I don't want to start a pissing match but think that one through a bit. The forest service burns it all the time, by the way.
GA
http://carl.west.home.comcast.net

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Look again, he said Round Up. That stuff (salts of glyphosate (sp?)) is about 2x more toxic than plain table salt - meaning not toxic in realistic amounts. And it's inert once it hits the ground. It's an extremely effective plant killer that won't hurt the bunnies. I have toads sit in my driveway every night (they catch the bugs the LV lights attract) that have been sprayed with it - they're fine, so are their offspring.
-- Bill H. [my "reply to" address is real] www.necka.net Molon Labe!
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RoundUp is considerably more toxic than that.
It's not the glyphosate that's the problem (that's pretty much as you describe) but "RoundUp" is mixed with a surfactant (detergent) to get it into the plant. That's much more hazardous to humans than the glyphosate is.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Joe Bramblett, KD5NRH wrote:

First of all the oil will vaporize and spread in a breeze much less a wind. The smoke will be full of it as well. It might go miles. Haven't you smelled smoke from a neighbors Barbie ? - that is a set of oils and carbons.
Use a spray killer. Have it taken out by professionals and then spray when it comes up.
I have it growing on my place and it is hard to spot until it turns color. Then I try to get it then. You are lucky knowing where it is. Martin
--
Martin Eastburn, Barbara Eastburn
@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net
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Michael wrote:

The other issues are some of these:
1. Mines own rail. 2. People own sections of rail that have been discarded (the line) (one such did run near by and now is through fields and farms.) 3. Owned by cities that ripped them up to take out the trolley... :-) 4. Military owns tons of rails - some very large and complex in nature. 5. go back to mines - lots of mines in the west! Lots of rail just sitting from a private spur until the mine ran out 100 years ago... Know where the mines are.
Martin
--
Martin Eastburn, Barbara Eastburn
@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net
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I've been wondering how you were doing with that and figured you'd get back on here, after some reading, with questions. :)
My son is taking a metallurgy class this fall and I'm going too. :)

A name brand cold chisel is basically made from the same type of steel they make rails from. There are a few odd ones out there tho like Hi-Si and CroMo rail.
It can be both at the same time, be a good edge holder -and- tough. Except for the new P/M stainless steels, the old piece of rail could be made to hold an edge better than stainless steels like ATS-34 or 440C and stronger at the same time! No kidding on that one. :)

Prob'ly be better off with store bought steel from Admiral anyway?
Any pieces torch cut while modifying the shape for an anvil could be used by a blacksmith.

Yeah but, new stock isn't the point when it comes to making a knife from a file, it's got to be an old file. ;) And someday I'll get it figured out how to make them turn out like I want.
As it is tho, some old files turn out good, one was an old Heller brand for instance. I have a couple "Atkins silver steel" that I need to try but would like to understand what's wrong with what I'm doing (if that's it) first.
Alvin in AZ
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Still no good books. Have to just get on the Amazon and see what I can find. Been building a new forge and torch with varying success. Did a forge chamber that has a 2 foot circumference out of clay and perlite with a insulated blanket lining that I'm just impressed as all hell with. Had a time of it figuring out how to keep the clay/perlite mix from cracking during dryout but ended up with this big, ugly, but very nice chamber. A side benefit is that I learned to make some reasonably efficient insulated bricks. You mentioned picking up the store bought ones with your bare hands on one side while the other side was glowing? The Clay/perlite mixed ones work almost as well... Not as efficient as the insulated blanket by a long shot but much better than plain fire brick. With my current chamber and a good exhaust, I could run it on the bench top in my garage (NOT part of the plan). Torches are another matter... Been playing around with designs and a friend got interested and started playing with his own and ended up doing a forced air model. Does a really controllable low end burn but seems to top out lower than good forging temperatures. To be fair though, my chamber is pretty big and he's building a miniforge for himself. I understand your reaction to the Weed burner I was using though. With the forced air model we took a blade that I had done through a really slow, even heat to transition phase and got a beautifully hard blade out of it. By tighter regulation of the overall forge temperature you get much more predictable results out of the steel. I'm working on a naturally aspiratated torch. I'm currently using a modified side-arm burner but no matter which design I choose, I can never find the exact specified components for building it. So I'm spending a lot of time trying variations. It's all fun. My buddies and me have been through targeted straight nozzels and bell reducer nozzles. I came up with a two stage stepped nipple size nozzle that seems to work about as good as anything else so far. Still trying to achieve that rosebud burn shape though. Mixing the fuel with a naturally aspirated torch is tricky. The minute you stick it in the chamber it changes all the rules. it's GOT to have a low friction exhaust on the chamber or the whole venturi thing get hosed.

Seems to me you would never be REALLY sure of the material you're working with. Makes treatment a shot in the dark don't you think? Nothing wrong with that mind you but getting consistent results is not likely to happen unless you stick to one brand and model of file.
GA
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I've called a couple times and no luck because of the time difference but they claim to have a website www.gotoatp.com
Amazon would be a good place for a used one maybe? Metallurgy Theory and Practice by Dell K Allen -1969 :)
That's my favorite and I have a bunch of 'em. ;)

Cool. :)

Weird huh? :)
Even simple insulation, when there is that much difference in temperature, can be pretty amazing.
You're way ahead of me on that, I've never messed with the blankets and coatings etc. :)

What's holding it back tho? Size? The air mixture pipe kind of small? ...like 3/4" or 1"? (so when more gas is added, the mixture gets too rich?)
Like you say it's not a problem for his setup, I guess.

Cool. :)

Yeah. :) Leaving you with just one variable to deal with, the steel's temperature.

Tricky business, that. ;)
Never bothered with that but would be really cool if a guy could get it to work. I'd be tempted to buy one of those as opposed to making one or at least work from someone else's plans.

Tricky business, that. ;)
Next thing you know you guys will be designing carburetors. ;)

But in the case of files and rasps... "sure enough", ok?

Not when it comes to files and certain other types of "settled" designs using certain steels etc.
Don't forget, the steel will tell you when it's ready to quench.

Spark testing will tell you all you need to know about an old file, specifically checking for case hardening*. They don't add much in the way of alloying (other than carbon;) to files. The Atkin's Silver Steel files "might' have a little Cr added which would make them easier to heat treat and get right. A -little- Cr is only a negative if you're wanting a hamon line. ;) Careful spark testing will reveal Cr if there is enough to make a difference.
A guy on the metallurgy NG tested a Nicholson file for me so I have it as a known sample. It's a very clean "1.22%" carbon steel. there are others that I have that are of higher carbon content but are unusual rather than usual that way.
* I have personally only ran across one "file" so far that was case hardened and it was a real old hoof rasp. Inside it was the usual stuff for rasps tho--> 1080 to 1090.
Others talk about cheap junk asian files, being nothing but case hardened low/medium carbon steel... all the cheap junk asian files I've spark tested were about the same carbon content as name brand ones. <shrug> I'm not going to put the work into a "cheap junk" asian file anyhow, so they don't count for me? ;)
I guess the point is you can heat treat a file like you know it because it's simple high carbon steel. The arrest point (non- magnetic) will tell you exactly when to quench, so that's covered.
The cement tie clips were another story... maybe chrome-moly steel or some other medium carbon steel with enough alloying in it to make substantial differences in how to get the most from it. But still when to quench is known... the steel itself tells you when.
Alvin in AZ
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Thanks for the reference. I'll look for it.

A mix of fire clay and perlite 3 or 4 to one makes a pretty good insulator. Tends to be a bit crumbly till you fire it through though. Not bad if you're not planning to move it around a lot. The one I built split across one side pretty bad but I had used too much water in the mix. Found out from experimenting that you want the mix as dry as you can get it and still hold together well. A few inches of this stuff will hold the heat in nicely but it's not very tough. Better after you get it good and hot. I put a couple bailing wire straps around mine and lined the interior with Inswool (the cheap stuff) and the outside barely gets hot unless you run it for a really long time. My buddy came over today with a small version he did and we had us a regular forge fest ;). I get more and more convinced that small chambers are not the way to go. The heat doesn't distribute well but you can get really hot in a localized area. Ok for forging but not so good for heat treating.

Can't say enough about the blanket. As I said, I bought the cheap stuff but I think I could make a decent forge from just a couple layers of that stuff held together in a wire basket. You need some sort of liner for the bottom so your work doesn't scuff the material so much. A half hight brick works well. Only need the ITC to protect it if your going to do forge welding. I'm not ready for that just yet.

Well, its a 3/4 mixing tube. At a point I dont think it will pump enough air to match the fuel. Playing around with it today I watched him crank back the fuel and you could see the color in the forge drop, and then he readjusted the air and it got white hot. After he started messing with the mixture later we never seemed to get it to run that hot again so it seems to be a matter of having just the right ratio. After reading and looking at the T-Rex burner though, I'm about ready to go buy one of those and quit messing around.

Clean stable tempertures inside the forge takes a lot of the "messiness" out.

Got a look at the Rex line the other day and I think I drooled all over my desk. Tim the tool man all over again. If they perform as well as reported I'm in for one as soon as I can spare the dollars.

design I

So
and
I
about
burn
tricky.
GOT
get
Hey, I'm no expert.

Convenient, that ;) I'm not in a position to safely assume much so I assume there is a lot I don't know. I went looking for heat treating info on "Stainless" when a buddy of mine wanted to try retreating a junk hatched from India. I realized right off the bat that I needed to know a lot more than that it was "stainless". After I got more intimate with this particular piece I realized that it was actually layered metals. Couldn't say for sure if all the layers were the same material and it was appearently poorly forge welded. Never did get it hard. Had few expectations from the start anyway...

my experience is that there is a marked orange spark to the 5160 and it won't hit non magnetic till much hotter than low carbon steel

Sounds like I need to pay another visit to the old tool dealer (yeah, both the tools and the dealer) at the Roseville auction. He's got boxes of worn out files in all shapes and sizes for dirt cheap.

Virtually that same material as a Leaf Spring I've been playing with as far as I can tell. Same spark, Same finish. Same general behavior. I'm assuming 5160 till I find evidence to the contrary. I like it a LOT for the toughness and finish. Doesn't stain easily like the plain steel. I'm planning on picking up a 20 foot (Minimum buy) flat stock piece from Admiral in the near future. I'll find out then if a known sample matches up.
GA
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Greyangel wrote:

I finally dug my metallurgy book out and it is the same as above. I found it pretty useful.
Steve Smith
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